Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu
Adorn the bird with feathers so it may soar.
Students of Toi Whakaari go on to numerous creative pathways after they leave the kura and we wanted a space to celebrate these rich, varied and sometimes unexpected arts careers. Our next article is written by Victoria Gridley.
Victoria Gridley, 2016 Costume Construction graduate
Victoria Gridley is an Australian who graduated Toi Whakaari in 2016 and has been whirl winding through the Wellington costume scene ever since. From Ballet to Theatre to Movies and Drag she’s dipped her fingers in everything and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. She excels and prides herself in the weird and specialises in Hats and masks and all sorts of fabulous frippery. She works both full time and commissioning at home under the label of GRIDLEY by Victoria. She also is a drag king herself under the alias of 'Captain Cosmo' and has performed in both Australia and New Zealand and cosplays on the side of it all.
What are you working on now?
Recently I've been working at the Royal New Zealand ballet as the Head of Costume Props making hats, masks, tails and more for an American company (Tulsa Ballets) interpretation of the classic Nutcracker.
What is your favourite thing about your work?
I love the problem solving of how to approach everything that comes my way. I can almost guarantee I haven’t made most of the wild designs before but I love figuring out the how to and watching it come to life.
Highlights of your creative career?
I think some of my highlights have been designing and making costumes for a hit kids musical extravaganza called the Glitter Garden that premiered at Circa Theatre in 2020. I made armour for Mulan at Weta Workshop. I’ve worked on other movies such as the Merger and Mortal Engines. I’ve travelled to Dubai to install some costume themed art I helped construct. As well as the numerous shows I’ve worked on as a costume props maker at the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
What do you know now you would tell Toi student Vic?
Talk to people, get to know your tutors and their stories/experiences. Collaborate with anyone that has the same energy level and love for their craft as you do. But importantly hold boundaries for yourself.
Anything to close you’d like to plug / wisdom to share /aroha to give / wero to offer?
You never know what other people are going through. Be kind, give people space if they need it and if someone tells you no, respect it, they don’t owe you a reason.
You can also read our earlier grad articles by Molly-Rose Chetwin-Kelly, Daniel Wilson and Darien Takle.